Why do Girls like Pink?

The colour preferences of men and women may seem like an unusual subject to merit serious scientific study, but new research published today from Newcastle University points at girl’s preference for pink being as a result of our biological and evolutionary programming.

There may be an evolutionary advantage in the old adage of “pink for a girl and blue for a boy”.  Tests results produced by the Newcastle University team and re-printed in this month’s edition of the magazine “Current Biology” show that women have a strong preference for red tones.  Using a representative group the researchers recorded people’s reactions to a series of flash cards that were shown to them.  Blue proved to be the most popular colour amongst the men and women test subjects but real differences between the sexes showed up when reactions to different hues and blends of colours were tested.

Whilst the male subjects showed no real preference for different hues and tones shown to them across the colour spectrum, women overwhelmingly plumped for the red end of the red-green colour spectrum.  The differences between the sexes in the results recorded were so significant that just by analysing the data produced; the research team were able to accurately predict the sex of the respondents.  Chinese subjects were also included within the study, in a bid to remove any possible cultural differences in colour preference, but their results were in line with the overall findings.  Females preference for the red spectrum seems to go beyond cultural and nurturing influences.

The research, led by Professor Anya Hurlbert says more about Homo sapiens, than females liking for reds, pinks and lilacs.  Their love of the red spectrum may influence the clothes they wear and the colour of their handbags but this fascination may go deeper and reflect an important evolutionary trait of our ancient ancestors.

As hunter-gatherers, a long held view is that the women took on the role of finding food whilst the men were the hunters.  Certainly, there is strong evidence to suggest that our brains are wired differently to assist with these tasks.  We have only to look at what goes on in our company; Everything Dinosaur; to see evidence of this.  For example, the girls are better able to remember where things are kept in the warehouse.  Perhaps this is a manifestation of their evolutionary trait of being able to remember where to find food sources as they wandered around the Pleistocene landscape.  Or perhaps it is because they are just cleverer than us boys!

Prehistoric women who were able to find ripe fruits would have been greatly appreciated by the other  members of the tribe.  In nature, the colour red is often an indication of ripeness and readiness to eat, so being able to see reds well may have been a significant evolutionary advantage.

At Everything Dinosaur we too have found that females have a strong preference for pinks and lilacs.  We recently introduced a range of dinosaur themed items especially for girls.  Their preference for the colour pink was reflected in our choice of products and helped in the design of things like the Utahraptor soft toys (they have a pink crest on them).

Some of the Everything Dinosaur – “Pink Influenced Products”

Picture courtesy of Everything Dinosaur

We introduced a special range of products in recognition of the need to get more young girls interested in science.  Girls as well as boys seem to be fascinated with dinosaurs, although strangely when we carry out our prehistoric animal surveys dinosaurs such as Triceratops and Stegosaurus seem to be more popular amongst the girls than the boys.

Dinosaur Models: Dinosaur Toys for Girls – Dinosaur Models

At the time we thought this was just a cultural thing, but perhaps the work of nurture rather than nature but Newcastle University have revealed that this perceived colour preference is a much more deeper held belief.

We have written about the Dinosaurs for Girls in two previous blog posts to read them click here:

Dinosaurs for Girls (Part 1)

Dinosaurs for Girls (Part 2)

So there you have it, the next time you see a woman in a pink top, or a girl with a pink teddy bear you are not observing a modern cultural phenomenon but you may be looking through a window into our own past and catching a glimpse of an affinity for a colour that may have led to the survival and eventual success of our species.

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